RAYR the wine and cheese shop is located on scenic Rockport Harbor in Rockport, Maine. We carry a selection of fine wines, from everyday to special occasions, a selection of hand-crafted beers, as well as specialty food items and cheeses from around the world. In addition to selling wine, cheese and specialty foods, we also offer a few lunch items, along with wine by the glass from noon to 5:00 p.m. All are prepared by Marcarthur Baralla, originally from Burgundy, France using French recipes.
Our wine, cheese, and specialty food inventory is carefully selected and constantly evolving. We actively seek and find high quality wines, grown in harmony with the Earth. With Maine’s many small farms, we feel it necessary to help foster our local cheese makers, and so RAYR carries a number of exceptional, local cheeses. In addition to these local cheeses, with over 65,000 wineries worldwide, we have found numerous small, family-owned and run wineries, and have had tremendous success in finding sustainably-grown, organic wines.
"Wine to us is like art. Each wine is a very unique expression of geographic location, soil type, grape varietal and wine making techniques. To put it bluntly, we love wine and its amazing expression of the grape."
RAYR, pronounced like “rare”, unofficially opened the day before Thanksgiving in 2008. With a power outage the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the “official” Wednesday opening was impossible. Boxes of wine were everywhere. Wine bottles lined the counter. The beam and posts were unfinished and the store was a huge mess. The power outage ended the arduous task of checking in wines. So, without any electricity on Tuesday evening, two days before Thanksgiving, staring into the dark, we pulled a bottle of wine out of one of the numerous boxes sitting on the floor, went to the sofa in front of the wood stove and gave it a rest.
The power came back on at 10:30 the next morning and we resumed data entry and stocking. At around noon, seeing lights on in the shop, a truck pulled into the parking lot and a guy came to the door and knocked. He asked through the closed door, “Are you open”? And with that, we opened the doors, in spite of the mess, let the man in and within 15 minutes the parking lot was full of cars. A steady stream of customers came through the doors until about 8:00 that night. It was exciting. Despite being unable to process credit cards, aisles full of boxes, and a counter strewn with wine bottles, RAYR was open for business.
We closed shop the evening before Thanksgiving 2008 at 8:30, continued to check wines into the system until 4:00 am and reopened “officially” Friday, November 23rd, 2008. Since that time, RAYR has grown, tripling the number of wines we carry to over 750. In 2018, RAYR expanded by adding a cheese and specialty food shop. As with our wine selection, our focus is organic, non-GMO specialty food items, as well as, local and global cheeses from small farms. We strive to be an ongoing, contributing entity in the village of Rockport, Maine. Maine truly is "the way life should be", and we love it here.